Monday, July 16, 2012

Small Town with Ice Cream Parlor and Strawberry Tree

Because I'm a working mom, I treasure the weekends when Teo and I can do something special together.  That might mean taking the bus to the library, going berry picking, or going to a park.  What he really seems to crave, though, is time at home to just play together.  

Last weekend, I surprised him with this little masking tape town.   When he woke up on Sunday morning and saw it, his face reflected wordless delight.  His favorite part was the ice cream shop.  To set this up, I rolled some construction paper cones, fastened with tape to fit the marbles from a Chinese Checkers game. 
The garden was Teo's idea.  He asked me to make seeds, which he planted and watered, and then he waited for them to grow (so of course I made some vegetables).  Oh, and one of the trees is a strawberry tree (wouldn't that be cool?). 

 A note of caution - masking tape can damage some tables. 

Let your imagination run wild.  Many props can be made with construction paper, but you can use other materials, too.  Some dry grass could line the stalls for toy horses if you add a farm.  Small sticks standing upright (just stick them in a little play dough), can be fence posts or tree trunks.  A little water in a bowl could be a pond or swimming pool.  Blocks, carpet remnants, tin foil, yarn . . .  

For more ideas, Anna from The Imagination Tree is a genius at this stuff.  Check out her shaving cream "Park in the Snow" or  moon sand "Seaside." 

What are we learning?
Dramatic Play, Language and Literacy - enhance vocabulary and understanding of many concepts by talking in rich detail while you play with your child.  For example, if you are exploring the garden theme, build on what your child already knows.  Add in new concepts - "edible" "compost" "sprout" "harvest."  Introduce new vegetables.  Talk about the parts of plants.  All this is best when worked naturally into the play dialogue, not offered as a lesson. 


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